Live Music + Gig Reviews

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

19 October 2004

Spektrum are what the raw, unabridged tongue would call ‘f***ed up.’ One Class A victim to my left grovelled helplessly in almost ceaseless trepidation. To the sober man’s eyes and ears however, Spektrum sit on the slightly more listenable side of Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin.

Singer Lola Olafisoye is striking, sinister and spirited in her presence. Between the irregular skewering samples and uzi percussion, the Londoners turned out an impressionable support set. Though clearly much of their abrasive material resulted in a large contingent of punters convulsed in a state of epilepsy.

The house lights have been dimmed for a while now as !!!‘s intro tape warms an expectant Rescue Rooms. The designer mullet ratio outstrips natural cuts (including yours truly’s stare-provoking curly locks) by a ratio of two to one. Christ knows how the fashionista can bear their woollen scarves and other multiple layers. !!! need no such accessories. Guitarist Mario Andreoni’s funky Terminator shirt niftily glowing in the dark is possibly the most thought about element to the New York immigrants image tonight.

With his hair at maximum frizz, arms spread horizontally, and legs at perfect 45 degree angles, lead vocalist Nic Offer is a sensational reincarnation of Travolta’s Tony Manero as he bounces his hips from left to right. After several minutes of stirring percussion driven build up, the groove shifts into the dance punkathon Pardon My Freedom.

Likewise, hulking drummer John Pugh appeared the quiet type as he waited patiently for his dinner in the next door bar earlier. Several hours later he is much worse for wear as he girates at centre stage. His mouth fashions into that of a hungry carnivore looking for its prey. He perspires like he’s just completed a decathlon. In reality however, he’s pummelled for a good ten minutes before dashing from behind his kit to assume cracking falsetto duty for Dear Can – watch out Jake Shears.

The big man eventually stumbles onto the standing area, carving out a catwalk before realising he has backed into the folded arms and stern faces section. Pugh promptly lumbers back onstage, where Offer is swinging from the stairs to the right like Tarzan in Brooklyn.

The octet (who just about squeeze onstage) drop a cover by hip hop crooner Nate Dogg before launching in to a melee of Hello? Is This Thing On and Me And Giuliani Down By The School Yard, sending the floor into disco punk putty with !!! its grinning sculptors.

While !!! may deceive appearance wise, believe the hype mongers when they roll out those awkward hyperbole soundbites. Louden Up Now on record is certainly an accomplished work, but live it is an unassailable assault on the senses and an experience thoroughly recommended.

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